Sometimes we get distracted by life and drift apart, here's how to keep swimming together
When relationships are not attended to regularly walls go up and intimacy goes down. Here are three of the main reasons that romance and intimacy disappear in relationships and what you can do to take charge of your relationship.
1. Secrets. Don’t think you keep secrets? What about the little fears you have about yourself or your life? What about the small frustrations you have with your partner that you don’t talk about for fear of “hurting their feelings” or “rocking the boat” or just because you don’t think your concerns are all that important?
Little secrets build up and get in the way, leading to bigger problems. If you want to have intimacy in your relationship, you have to be willing to be vulnerable to the other person. In order to be vulnerable you have to be willing to trust them to hear you.
Find 30 minutes a day to talk – not about the kids, or work, but about you and what your thoughts and hopes and dreams are. Take 10 minutes for each person to talk without interruption, and then take 10 minutes to process together. It will be strange at first, but the walls between you will soon come down.
2. Minimal physical contact. How do you have intimacy if you don’t touch each other? Many couples find that over time they forget to kiss hello and good-bye, they slowly stop giving spontaneous hugs or holding hands. Life gets in the way. Your work day is hard. The children have been ill. These are the times that it is most important to remember to do the little things.
Talk about where you are comfortable starting then follow though together. For example: Make an agreement that you will sit on the same couch, holding hands, while watching TV at night. Agree that you will never go to sleep without a kiss and an “I love you”. Whatever the place you start at, you can always add on. This will help to remind you that you are not just two people sharing a life, but a romantic partnership.
3. No alone time. When was the last time you were alone and had an experience that was unique to just the two of you? Socializing with mutual friends is nice, but we all need to refresh our relationships by being alone together. When other people are around, like friends, family or children they act as a buffer. It’s as if you have a safety net between you so that you don’t have to focus on each other.
Date nights may feel forced, but they are sometimes the best way to prioritize that alone time. Do something a little different each date night – stargazing, hiking, trying different restaurants – new and different experiences are the best to create unique moments for the two of you. You fell in love in the first place for a reason. Even if you are out of practice you will be at ease soon enough.
This is your life and your relationship. You can keep it romantic and intimate for a lifetime so long as you attend to it consistently and allow yourselves to be true partners regardless of the bumps and bruises of life.